Monday, June 28, 2010

Sealaska bill would drastically change Southeast Alaska
Last week, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee passed 26 bills out of the committee. Senate Bill 881, the Sealaska Bill, was not in this big group of lands bills.

What AEL&P isn't telling us
I spoke with an Alaska Electric Light and Power representative today to check the accuracy and my understanding of a news story on KTOO radio. The report addressed the anticipated rate adjustment and its impact on households. It said, and this was verified, the average monthly usage per household is about 700 kilowatt-hours and most households would see an increase of about $14 a month. This seemed way off to me. What I learned is that 700 kwh is the average for all households for all months whether their heat source is electricity or not.

'Fake' pot appears in Juneau
Another product being smoked by young people is generating concern among parents and local officials.

Photo: Alive and friendly

City applies for trash pickup certificate
The company contracted to pick up Juneau's trash could get some competition, possibly from the city of Juneau itself.

Photos: 2010 Gold Rush Days
Bob Leuband and John Smith pair up in Men’s Team Hand Bucking while Sonie Blackwell keeps the saw blade oiled and a wedge applied during Sunday’s 2010 Gold Rush Days logging events at Savikko Park.

Photos: Only fools run at midnight
A group dressed as “Auke Baywatch” lifeguards waits for the start of the Only Fools Run at Midnight race just before midnight on Saturday night.

Police & Fire

Gustavus celebrates diesel-free power
GUSTAVUS - Gustavus no longer looks to Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan and envies their cheap and plentiful hydroelectric power.

RCA sets date for decision on interim increase
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska will decide whether to grant Alaska Electric Light & Power's interim rate increase request by July 16, the commission announced last week.

Empire hires new Deputy Managing Editor
The Juneau Empire welcomed Charles Ward last week as the newspaper's new Deputy Managing Editor.

Juneau's Clough appointed to redistricting board
Gov. Sean Parnell has appointed Al Clough of Juneau to the state's Redistricting Board, which will redraw state legislative district boundaries based on the ongoing U.S. Census.

Zen owner aquitted in sexual assault case
A jury acquitted a Juneau restaurant owner June 11 of charges he sexually assaulted a female employee.

Photos:Saturday at 2010 Gold Rush Days
Katie Shumway mucks away during the children's hand mucking contest Saturday at the 2010 Gold Rush Days.

Photos: Working up in the air
Chatham Electric employees John Pugh, bottom, and Donnie Minor work at the top of the more than 300-foot-tall KJNO radio tower while installing a new indicator beacon on Saturday.

Photo: The 'sweetest' ride
Rick See is pulled along Douglas Highway by his three-year-old pitbull, Sugar, on Friday. "She is just the sweetest dog," says See.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

University staff to get union vote
The Alaska State Employees Association announced Friday that University of Alaska staff employees will be able to vote on union representation.

Daisies planting trees
Elin Antaya, 6, of Daisy Troop 4028, soaks up a little liquid sunshine during a tree plant event at Cope Park on Wednesday.

United Way unveils Web-based volunteer forum
JUNEAU - United Way of Southeast Alaska has introduced a new web-based volunteer forum called Volunteer Juneau. In partnership with SAGA, United Way has developed a new Facebook page and online calendar that provide fans with detailed and up-to-date information regarding volunteer opportunities in and around Juneau.

Housing needed for Americorps volunteers
JUNEAU - SAGA is bringing 10 new AmeriCorps Members to Juneau September 1 to begin an 11-month Term of National Service. These young people will be serving at various nonprofit organizations, schools and government agencies throughout the community.

Leadership Juneau participants tackle community issues
JUNEAU - Nine participants of the United Way Leadership Juneau program recently finished up their semester-long community leadership program with a ceremony at Perseverance Theater. Candice Bressler, Cynthia Plantz, Jeff Vogt, Markus Bressler, Mark Mesdag, Jessie Grant, Tyler Browne, Jeff Rogers and Aaron Benson presented their three projects to a group of community leaders, family members and supporters on June 5.

Hot, nutritious lunches for elders
ANGOON - Native and non-Native elders, age 60 and older, are invited to enjoy hot, delicious lunches at noon, Monday through Friday, at the Angoon Shu' Senior Center, located at 800 Kootz Road. Thanks to the financial support of Kootznoowoo, Inc., the State of Alaska and community donors, the meals are available five days a week.

JDHS class of 1990 to hold 20-year reunion
JUNEAU - The JDHS class of 1990 is slated to hold their 20-year reunion at the end of this week. It's a three-day event with a variety of activities - "a little something for everyone," as they say.

Seniors urged to participate in survey about services
JUNEAU - Juneau residents who are 55 or older are being given the opportunity to create a "wish list" for future services available to seniors. This list will be compiled from the 2010 Needs Survey for Older City and Borough of Juneau Residents which is being distributed now throughout the borough by the members of the Juneau Commission on Aging.

Recognitions
The Juneau Chapter of ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 has awarded two scholarships for the 2010/2011 academic year.

Thanks for supporting the symphony
The Juneau Symphony is happy to announce the winners of our 2010 Travel Raffle. The drawing was held on the JDHS stage during our Pops Concert on June 12. The winners were:

Thanks for supporting Juneau's youth
Juneau Youth Services would like to thank the captain and crew of the Adventure Bound Alaska for their support of our Tracy Arm Kayak Expedition. This is the third consecutive year in which the Adventure Bound has assisted us with a scheduled food drop mid-way through the three-week trip. The Adventure Bound makes daily trips down to Tracy Arm and each year keeps a watchful eye out for us when we are in the area. Thank you Adventure Bound for supporting Juneau's youth in their safe and sober exploration of this unique wilderness area.

Thanks for being there
Thank you to the following people who were there for our son, Duane Weedman, as he lay "in passing" on Ross Way in Juneau on May 24, 2010: Linda Lindeman and her daughter, Laura Coleman, for their compassion and respect; Dale Bontrager, for his CPR and goodwill; and Chris Anderson, Juneau's paramedics and police, for their emergency response efforts. Thank you to Duane's neighbors, friends and acquaintances, co-workers, relatives, and family friends for their condolences and support. God bless you all in Juneau, Haines and across the land. Your thoughts, prayers, love and kindness have lightened our hearts during this very sad time.

Thank you from Mendenhall River Community School
The staff, students and families at Mendenhall River Community School would like to extend our sincere gratitude for the wonderful support we receive from our community. We especially thank the following Juneau organizations that volunteered their help during the past school year. Your support contributes to the success of all our students.

More than just Judo
Girl Scout Daisy Troop 4028 and a few of their parents recently received a Judo lesson from community member Jay Watts with Capital City Judo. Our troop wanted to publicly thank Mr. Watts and his two young lady assistants for much more than just a Judo lesson.

Thank you from Thunder Mountain High School
Thunder Mountain High School would like to thank the community for all their support during our second school year. Your partnership allows us to provide meaningful programs and activities to our students. Thank you specifically to the following volunteers for your contribution to our school this year: Glacier Valley Rotary Club, SAGA, Friends of the Library, Scott Macaulay, Juneau Economic and Development Council, Eaglecrest Ski Area, JRC-Alaska Club, Brian Holst of JEDC, Veida Forrest of the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities, Chuck Craig of the University or Alaska Southeast, Les Schwab, Valley Lumber, Valley Paint, National Guard Sgt. Baker, Bill Peters of True North Federal Credit Union, Army Sgt. First Class Thuan T. Nguyen, Pavitt Fitness, RX Express, Canton House, What A Foot, Sunkissed Tanning, Jim and Katherine Kelly of State Farm, Perseverance Theater and Alaska Laundry.

Thanks to all the participants in the class of 2010's baccalaureate
The Baccalaureate Committee for this year's graduating class of 2010 representing JDHS, TMHS, YKHS and home schoolers from IDEA and RAVEN would like to thank the following adults and businesses in our community for their participation in our May 27 baccalaureate: Doug Smith, parent of a graduating senior, for providing the prelude and processional music on the piano; Rhonda Hickok of TMHS for the welcome and for emceeing the program; Leitoni Tupuo from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the invocation and benediction; our keynote speakers Gary Leder from Auke Bay Bible Church, Tari Stage-Harvey, pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church and Bishop Edward Burns representing the Diocese of Juneau; Jon-Michael Gwinnell of Echo Ranch Bible Camp gave the graduates a blessing near the end of the program. The messages to the graduates from all the adult speakers were delivered with respect for the diversity of faiths represented and genuine blessings for their future.

FYI
Births

Relay for Life celebrates survivors
The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is a fun-filled, overnight event that mobilizes the community to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones and raise money for the fight against cancer. Groups of friends, families, neighbors and coworkers form teams to walk or run around a track during a 24-hour period to raise spirits, awareness and funds to fight cancer through American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patient and family services. Team members gather with tents and sleeping bags to participate in the largest fundraising event in the nation.

Salmon-chanted Evening held tonight at Thane Ore House
Celebrate summer, solstice, and the end of the fiscal year when Perseverance Theatre presents the final "production" of the 2009-2010 season, the perennial crowd pleaser, Salmon-chanted Evening, tonight, June 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the Thane Ore House.

Path to excellence
JUNEAU - Naturalists and scientists working in concert with cultural experts, elders, and other educators helped create the first Path to Excellence academy - a 12-day early college high school model hosted by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, the Juneau School District and the University of Alaska Southeast.

Adults play with LEGOs in Juneau
JUNEAU - Do you ever find yourself sitting on the floor building something out of LEGOs long after your child has wandered off to do something else? LEGOs have been inspiring creative impulses in people of all ages for decades. In addition to occupying our children for hours, they provide a link to the inner child that remains alive and well in most adults.

Gaines, Brehmer wed
Alison Gaines, of Juneau, and Tyler Brehmer, of Wenatchee, Wash. were married on May 15, 2010 in Key West, Fla. They held a sunset cruise reception onboard a catamaran immediately following the ceremony.

Avans, Riley wed
Crystal Avans, of Lafayette, Ga. and Michael Riley, of Juneau were married on the bride's birthday, June 7, 2010.

Jensen, Kerby wed
Rena Dee Jensen, of Juneau and Derek Michael Kerby, of San Diego were married on March 6, 2010 at 2 p.m. in Las Vegas.the reception was held in Juneau on July 17, 2010.

Still at home with the kids
Over the last few months many people have commented that they haven't seen my column in the Juneau Empire. For those folks who miss it, I offer a sincere apology.

Reflections on Summer Solstice
I don't know about you, but I am a person that needs light, lots of it. In February I get excited because I see that days are becoming visibly longer and summer is on the way. But as soon as we have our longest day of light, which was this week, I start to get apprehensive about the days getting shorter. Shorter, darker days are on the way even though they are months away. In effect, I take some of the most beautiful days of the year and fret over what is to come even though what I am experiencing is still wonderful. We have had great days this year and probably have already witnessed more blue skies than we do for an entire year in some years. Why do I let myself do that?

TOE cartoon

Charity legal work isn't done for free
Last Thursday Alaska's Attorney General Dan Sullivan visited Juneau to preside over a gathering that was called a pro bono summit.

Corruption gets a break
The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Oil and gas are the bridge to clean energy
The catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico serves as a stark reminder that the United States needs a workable and comprehensive energy policy. As a nation, we have failed to address our unsustainable energy demands.

Bankruptcy is Obama's worst nightmare
It would be a "horror," a "disaster," according to lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to administer British Petroleum's $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill. "That is not an option."

Communities, state, schools must work together for education
The recipe for a successful system of public education is community engagement in the schools, emotionally and physically safe schools where students feel they belong, and quality schools that prepare students for 21st century careers and post-secondary education.

The Jones Act: Lost at sea
Who would have thought the Gulf oil spill would make a 90-year-old law newsworthy? The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, was meant to save the merchant marine industry by requiring ships that plied American waters be built in the United States and manned by American crews. After the oil started gushing, lawmakers started demanding that the government waive the law to speed international assistance for the cleanup. What the White House can't waive, however, is the ongoing damage caused by the Jones Act. The policies it embodies are a remnant of a worldview that contributed to economic collapse and the Great Depression.

Linehan wants more freedom on bail
Mechele Linehan is seeking looser bail conditions as she awaits her second murder trial.

Tea Party rally draws 200 to Anchorage park
ANCHORAGE - About 200 people in the tea party movement rallied Thursday at Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage.

Pact to inspect IDs at liquor stores falters
Many Anchorage liquor stores that entered a voluntary agreement to check all IDs not been doing so. Mike Gutierrez, the Anchorage Assemblyman behind the agreement, said the effort didn’t last even three months.

Murkowski wants more heavy icebreakers
JUNEAU - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the temporary loss of the nation's only working heavy icebreaker threatens the nation's ability to respond to Arctic emergencies.

Monday ferry from Juneau to Hoonah canceled
The ferry LeConte’s 7 a.m. voyage Monday from Juneau to Hoonah has been canceled due to a mechanical problem aboard the 235-foot ship, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said.

Coast Guard rescues intoxicated boaters
The Coast Guard says it rescued two intoxicated boaters after their canoe capsized in Juneau’s Gastineau Channel.

Public Safety encourages smart hiking in Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Alaska authorities are reminding people to be smart about their hiking trips.

Parnell signs fishing industry bills
PETERSBURG - Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation increasing the limit that can be paid to injured fishermen under a special fund.

Trooper who shot armed Tanacross man identified
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers have identified the trooper who shot and wounded a man who authorities say threatened troopers with a firearm and knife.

Representative Tuck named to scholarship funding task force
JUNEAU - On June 24, House Speaker Mike Chenault named Representative Chris Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, and four other representatives to serve on the Joint Legislative Higher Education Scholarship Funding Task Force. The newly-created task force will evaluate how to best fund necessary financial aid and scholarship opportunities for Alaskans.

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka to hold change of command
JUNEAU - Coast Guard Air Station Sitka will hold a formal change of command ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the hangar where Cmdr. Doug Cameron will relieve Capt. David A. Walker as the Air Station Sitka commanding officer.

Five vying for District Court Judge
JUNEAU - Five attorneys are applying to be a Juneau District Court judge.

35th Annual Rainball Softball tournament

50-for-50
Alaska was one of the final states to join the union, so what better place than the Last Frontier to finish off a 50-state, 17-year tour involving a marathon run in each state?

Photo: Juneau women fair well in Kluane bike races

Report says BP helped state in cheating probe
An Anchorage newspaper is reporting that Alaska officials allowed British Petroleum PLC and a drilling contractor to help investigate complaints lodged in 2005 that the contractor cheated on tests of blowout preventers with BP’s knowledge.

Polar bear overseer: few tools to stop melting ice
ANCHORAGE - Polar bear policy in America can be summed up succinctly: The iconic bears are threatened with extinction, and so far nothing much is being done.

Interior court system expands with courthouse
NENANA - For decades, justice in this small town 55 road miles southwest of Fairbanks took place in a log cabin built in the early 1950s.

Deadline nears for comments on mercury emissions
ANCHORAGE - Federal rules limiting mercury emissions at gold mines are long overdue but aren't nearly tough enough, environmental groups said Friday.

Second of three men charged in murder sentenced
FAIRBANKS - The second of three men charged in the 2008 murder of Fairbanks businessman Daniel Frederick has been sentenced.

Fairbanks man accused of bulldozer threat to worker
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man is facing a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of threatening a U.S. Census worker with a bulldozer.

Murkowski targets spending, EPA
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in a speech before Interior Republicans, said she considers her attempt to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act to be a "badge of honor."

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